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Improving Interpersonal Communication Essay

The research question to be answered in this report is the following: How can I use interpersonal communication research principles to improve my communication? The three main ideas I am going to discuss are listening habits and skills, nonverbal cues, and resolving communication problems. In the conclusion, I evaluate my course learning and ways that I plan to improve my interpersonal communication in the future. Introduction Interpersonal communication is the verbal and nonverbal interactions between two or more people. Our minds, body and cultures, and play a factor in our communication, and they often affect our emotions.

The main core issues in interpersonal communications are, the fundamental elements of the communication process, self-concept influences, perception, listening habits and skills, language, nonverbal cues, resolving communication problems, intercultural communications and theories of relationship development. (DeVito, 2013) For me there are many areas, where I feel I need improvement, and it is important for me to understand what am I feeling, and what made me feel this way? What exactly do I want to communicate? In addition, what are my communication choices? Listening Affects in Interpersonal Communication

Listening has always been one of my weaknesses, while I hear what a person is saying; I think about how often I really listen to the entire message, which the other person is trying to convey. According to DeVito (2013), Listening is the process of: “(1) receiving -hearing and attending to the message, (2) understanding-deciphering meaning from the message you hear, (3) remembering-retaining what you hear in memory, (4) evaluating-thinking critically about and judging the message, and (5) responding-answering or giving feedback to the speaker” (DeVito, The Interpersonal Communication Book, 2013)

As I focused on listening skills, many articles reference that to listen is to understand; according to Epler (2014), “the key to improving communication is to seek to understand and then to be understood. ” (Epler, 2014) In the past, I have been guilty of pretend listening, as well as selective listening; however, during a recent family emergency I had the opportunity to put some of DeVito’s suggestions to use. I recently got back in contact with my stepbrother; I had only met him three times as a teenager. I knew when I was getting ready to talk to him, that I wanted uninterrupted time.

According to Hill (2007) when a person is on he telephone, 40% of a telephone conversation becomes impeded by technical noise. (HilI, Watson, Rivers, & Joyce, 2007) This in turn, effects how we decode the message. In this situation, I needed clarity in the conversation and wanted to try some of the suggestions we have shared over the course of the class. As I prepared for this, I ensured there were no distractions and my focus was on him and him alone. As I listened to him, I could sense his joy in reconnecting with me, even thru the family tragedy.

I could feel the smile on his face as he spoke, especially as he spoke about the letter I had given him ack when I was 12. I could also feel the disappointment in his voice when we discussed his dad. In addition, it was also very clear how sad he was having missed all the relationships with his family over the year. Nonverbal Communication in Interpersonal Communication For me posture is definitely an issue, on both the speaker as well as on myself. When someone is talking to me and they are slouched in the chair I have a tendency to lose interest in what they are saying.

Saying that, I have found myself, several times slouched in the chair as I begin to lose interest in the speaker, oth in the workplace as well as in school. I would say this is my biggest fault. Another fault, which really affected me, was maintaining eye contact in certain situations. This generally happened when I would meet new people and employees for the first time. This was due to my self-image over my front tooth. We all know England to say the least, is not known for good dentistry. I had broken my front tooth when I was a teen.

While I had it temporarily repaired, I was never comfortable smiling or looking at anyone in the eyes. Once we relocated to Texas I was fortunate to meet an excellent dentist, and my teeth eceived a makeover. Since having this procedure completed, I have found myself more confident; I love to look at people in the eyes and smile. I feel that this has definitely improved my self-esteem and I especially agree with DeVito when he states “People who maintain eye contact are judged to be more at ease and less afraid to engage in meaningful interaction than those who avoid eye contact. (DeVito, 2013) Recently I found myself sliding down the chair and extremely unfocused during a work meeting.

Thinking of the suggestions from DeVito (2013), I immediately straightened up my posture, concentrated, focused nd looked the speaker in the eyes. (DeVito, 2013) I was amazed just how much information I actually absorbed as well as by the conversation, which transpired when the speaker opened the discussion for questions and opinions. The speaker also had a more positive approach towards me. For once I asked questions, which is something I never do until after the fact, and that is generally via email.

Resolving Communication Problems As we spend the majority of our day in the workplace, I chose to focus on this area for resolving communication problems in the workplace. At my previous job, a coworker had a negative ttitude day in day out. There were four of us in one office, and everyone one of us had had enough of the constant negativity, not only did this make it difficult for us going into work every day, it made us not want to go in to work, as we never knew which attitude we would receive that day.

We all tried in many different ways to try to understand what was going on in the coworkers head. As stated by Lee, (2015) differences in race, culture and lifestyles can affect how you communicate in the work place. (Lee) As we all had a different cultural background, we researched the coworker’s culture, to see if it was something, e were doing which offended them. We thought this might be the answer as what is acceptable by our culture, may not be acceptable by another culture, unfortunately this was not the solution.

Another thing we did was try to show them respect, just as we did our other coworkers; this was a little hard at times, as we did not seem to get any kind of respect back. We tried to learn more about them by showing an interest in their family, as well as their interests outside the work place. Numerous times, we attempted to get them to feel more comfortable with their surroundings, and reiterate that we were here to do the same job, and at the end of the day, we all had the same goals. We believed this attitude was a result of the coworker’s self-concept, and their regular behavior definitely influenced their behavior at work.

According to DeVito (2013), self-concept includes “the way you interpret and evaluate your own thought and behaviors. (DeVito, 2013) This was evident through the coworker’s verbal aggressiveness. Many times, the coworker would verbally attack others for no reason. This definitely resulted in a loss of credibility on the coworker. After we initiated a meeting with our coworker, it was apparent that hey had issues at home, the coworkers children no longer associated with them, resulting in them not been able to spend time with the grandchildren, etc.

This resulted in tensions with the family, which carried over into the work place. They felt betrayed at home, and they felt that they could not trust anyone, even though we had worked together for several years, without issues. Conclusion While I used to feel I had no problems with communication, I now realize that in certain situations, I still lack some important communication skills. During the course, we had several tasks to elp us identify our weaknesses. One test I decided to take was a self-assessment on Good Therapy. org.

The test covered five determining factors, Insightfulness, Verbal Expression, Assertiveness, Listening Skills and Emotional Management. (Interpersonal Communication Skills Test Online) My results indicated, “I am extremely adept at interpreting other people’s words and actions and seeing things from their perspective, which likely results in very few misunderstandings. You seem to realize that empathy is an essential part of good interpersonal skills and therefore, will do your best to place yourself in other eople’s shoes in order to better understand them.

You can generally get a good sense of what others are thinking and will likely adjust yourself accordingly if the people you’re conversing with seem confused or perhaps uncomfortable. (Interpersonal Communication Skills Test Online) Although I felt great with the test results, I also feel that listening continues to be a problem for me in certain situations. With the aid of this class and the tools we have been provided I feel that this is strengthening my active listening techniques, as well as my overall communication skills.

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